KickStart Provides A Personalized Approach To New School Year

Pictured last year are Fort Miami third-graders Chase Dario (left) and Cray Eickholt, working on a Bridges math assignment. This year, kindergarten through third-grade teachers will spend 45 minutes with each child before the school year begins as part of the K-3 KickStart program. MIRROR PHOTO BY NANCY GAGNET

BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — A new program in the Maumee school district will give teachers more time with the youngest students before classroom learning begins.

The new initiative, titled Maumee K-3 KickStart, provides a more personalized approach to the in-class learning process as teachers will spend 45 minutes in a one-on-one session with students before the first day of class. The program is designed for students in kindergarten through third grade at Fairfield and Fort Miami elementary schools. 

Traditionally, during an open house, parents would have wait in a line to spend a few minutes with teachers, but this new program eliminates that scenario, which is important especially this school year, said Curriculum Director Michelle Shafer.

“It’s a personalized approach to getting to know the student and parent,” she said. “It’s also giving them the time to connect. School is going to be different this year and parents are going to have questions, and the teachers will be there ready to answer questions and reassure them that we have their child’s best interest in mind.”

The K-3 KickStart initiative was planned before the pandemic broke and Shafer credits Fort Miami second-grade teacher Ann Glowacki with initiating and researching the proposal.

“We had been talking about it and it is just a happy coincidence that we were exploring this at the same time that it was going to meet the needs of our parents and our students very well in this particular year,” said Shafer.

During the sessions, teachers will also assess each student to determine individual baseline skill levels for specific foundational skills, such as letter identification and counting. This will allow teachers to identify strengths and areas in need of support in order to help students experience a positive and successful transition to the new school year, she said.

The district will not hold a summer back-to-school registration day in August. During the K-3 KickStart appointment, parents should be prepared to complete all back-to-school registration forms, turn in all necessary paperwork and drop off all student school supplies.

Face-to-face open houses will also not happen this year for students in the higher grade levels, and alternative solutions will likely be created to meet those needs, Shafer added.

“Everywhere I think we are looking for ways to be responsive and answer questions that parents may have,” she said.   

The K-3 KickStart will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 24-25. Parents will be notified to schedule their child’s K-3 KickStart appointment.

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